# Can a Smelly Fish Tank Make You Sick?
Yes, a smelly fish tank can make you sick if it is not properly maintained. Fish excrete large amounts of waste that can accumulate in the tank and create an environment ripe for bacterial growth. Without proper filtration and cleaning, these bacteria can spread to the air and be inhaled by humans or pets, leading to serious health problems. Even if the tank is kept clean, an excess of decaying food or plant material in the water can produce noxious odors that are unpleasant and even toxic to your lungs over time. To avoid any potential health risks, it’s important to keep your aquarium clean by regularly changing out 20 percent of its water each month, replacing filters every two weeks, and cleaning debris as needed. Additionally, avoiding overstocking fish–which increase waste levels in a closed ecosystem–and keeping on top of maintenance will also ensure a healthy (and odorless) aquatic environment for yourself and your aquatic companions!
## 1. What is the risk of inhaling a smelly fish tank?
The risk of inhaling a smelly fish tank is twofold—natural unpleasant odors as well as potentially dangerous toxins and chemicals released by the decaying organic matter in the tank.
When a fish tank starts to smell, it’s usually due to bacteria growth, leftover food particles, dead plants, and excess slime buildup on rocks and decorations that are breaking down. This can lead to poor water quality in the tank and greatly affect the health of the aquatic life inside. Inhalation of these airborne contaminants could trigger allergic reactions or other symptoms such as headaches, facial tightness, asthma-like wheezing, skin rashes or absentmindedness.
Furthermore, anaerobic bacteria can also produce potentially harmful toxins such as hydrogen sulfide which has odor reminiscent of rotten eggs. The short-term exposure of this gas can cause irritation to the eyes and mucous membranes in your nose and throat while higher concentrations may lead to serious medical complications like central nervous system damage or even death under extreme circumstances. Therefore it’s best not to take chances when dealing with a heavily contaminated fish tank – particularly if one is sensitive to odors — and instead opt for having it professionally cleaned by a licensed aquarium service professional.
## 2. Can bacteria grow in a smelly fish tank, and can it make you sick?
Yes, bacteria can grow in a smelly fish tank; and in some cases, those bacteria can make you sick. Bacteria thrive in dark, moist places and an unclean fish tank provides the perfect environment for them to proliferate and colonize. Poor water quality– such as not changing it frequently enough or using tap water that contains chlorine– will create a very unhealthy habitat for your fishes because this will increase the levels of ammonia and nitrates, which can fuel the growth of several potentially harmful bacteria. Common bacterial culprits include Legionella pneumophila, Aeromonas hydrophila, Pseudomonas species, Lactococcus garvieae, Mycobacterium marinumand Edwardsiella tarda.
These specific bacterial infections can spread to humans when they come into contact with unclean fish tanks or aquariums – whether this contact be through direct physical touch (wounds on hands etc.), inhaling airborne particles, contaminated food/water supplies or even contact lenses that may have come into contact with infected tank waters. Typical symptoms of bacterial infection associated with fish tanks include fever, weakness/fatigue; skin lesions or rashes; abdominal pain; coughing; chills and chest pains. You should seek medical assistance if any of these symptoms are present following contact with your fish tank water.
To avoid potentially coming into contact with harmful bacteria, you should ensure that you provide regular maintenance for your aquarium by cleaning regularly,
## 3. What illnesses and symptoms could be caused by exposure to a smelly fish tank?
Exposure to a smelly fish tank can have adverse effects on both physical and mental health. Most common symptoms associated with exposure to a smelly fish tank are related to respiratory illnesses and allergies, although poor mental health can be an additional symptom.
The most immediate physical problem associated with exposure to a smelly fish tank is breathing difficulties caused by the ammonia gas released in small quantities every time the filter is used. Ammonia gas is an irritant that can cause coughing, wheezing, chest pain, watery eyes, difficulty breathing and other respiratory-related issues. Long-term exposure may even result in lung or nerve damage over time.
Allergies are another issue that can arise from exposure to a smelly fish tank. While they won’t affect everyone exposed, those who suffer from allergies may experience sneezing fits and itchy eyes due to the proteins released when the waste product of pet fish breaks down. Allergic reactions may also lead more serious problems such as inflammation of the throat and/or asthma attacks if not treated properly.
Finally, there is evidence showing that poor air quality from smelly aquariums can have reducing effects on your mental health as well. The smell of a dirty fish tank may cause some people distress leading to depression or general malaise in severe cases if no action is taken quickly enough to fix the problem at hand. Seeking assistance from professionals trained in this area will usually help alleviate
## 4. Are there any precautions one should take to avoid getting sick from a smelly fish tank?
Fish tanks come with a number of benefits, but they can sometimes carry an unfortunate smell if not properly maintained. Fortunately, there are steps that tank owners can take to reduce the risk of getting sick from a smelly fish tank.
• Cleaning: Cleaning your tank regularly is the number one way to make sure no germs or smells linger. Remove debris and waste from the surface of the water and replace it with fresh water at least once every two weeks. This will help decrease odors and keep your fish healthy.
• Filters: Install filters in your tank to help filter out impurities and odors as well as helping keep the water circulating better throughout the tank. This also works great if you have trouble remembering to clean your tank regularly because it will still keep things relatively clean even without manual maintenance.
• Air Pumps: Adding an air pump is another great way to help reduce odors from a fish tank. These pumps circulate oxygen into the water making it more conducive for aquatic life which helps reduce smells since its natural for aquatic life produces some kind of order during their lives in captivity.
• Biological Media: Bacteria naturally lives in aquariums, but adding biological media adds additional bacteria which breaks down leftover food and debris thus reducing odor released by organic matter left behind after feeding time or other activities inside your fish tank. Some common ones are zeolite, ceramic rings, or sponges- make sure you research before